Rice pudding can be traced as an ancient dish enjoyed by people of many cultures. It traces its roots to the grain pottages made by cooks in the Middle East. Rice pudding has long been associated with good nutrition and easy digestion. Ironically, it was first mentioned in medical texts rather than cook books.
Through the ages, rice pudding has been recommended for people of all ages with stomach problems. Beginning in the 19th century, arrowroot and tapioca pudding began to be prescribed in America for much the same reasons.
The history of rice, itself, is long and complicated. Food historians agree that rice came to Europe by way of India. Originally, rice was not used as an ingredient in cooking. Instead, it was prized for its medicinal value and was known as a thickening agent.
In the Middle East, one form of rice pudding is known as firmi. Firmi seems to have originated in ancient Persia or the Middle East; and to have been introduced to India by the Moghuls.
Shola, the name given to a number of dishes all over the Middle East, Iran, and Afghanistan, is another form of rice pudding in which short-grain rice is cooked until soft and thick, with other ingredients chosen according to whether the shola is be be savory or sweet. It was brought to Perisa by the Mongolians in the 13th century,
Kheer is the Indian name for sweet milk puddings usually made with rice, although it can also be made with fine noodles called seviyan, or semolina, carrots or sage. It is sometimes called sheer, which means milk in Persian. It probably originated in Persia where a similar dessert is known as sheer birinj (rice pudding).
The Chinese eight jewel rice pudding is so named because it is made with eight different kinds of fruit preserved with honey. Eight was said by Confucius to be the number of perfection. The fruits are arranged on the bottom of the dish and cooked, with sweetened glutinous rice poured on top. The pudding is then steamed for several hours so that the rice breaks down into a homogenous mass.
In Europe, rice pudding is the descendant of earlier rice pottages, which date back to the time of the Romans, who used such a dish only as a medicine to settle upset stomaches. Rice was an expensive import, even for the Romans.
You can make Grandma Margie’s rice pudding just for its pure culinary delight – or too soothe your ailing tummy – or both.
- 4 cups 2% milk or whole milk
- 1 cup long rice
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons butter; cut up
- Cook milk and rice until rice absorbs milk
- Pour into casserole dish with remaining ingredients – except butter
- Cut up butter on top and sprinkle with cinnamon
- Bake for 1 hour at 350°F
Recipe by angela_f_geier
Recipe from BigOven